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Franchitti looks to future with new DW12

Dario Franchitti has set aside questions about whether he might quit the sport after Dan Wheldon's death, and instead is focussing on developing the new 2012 car.
Dario Franchitti was back behind the wheel of an IndyCar for the first time since the disastrous race at Las Vegas, as he had his first outing in the new 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell chassis for Honda at Sebring International Raceway in Florida on Thursday.

Media reports during the week have quoted manufacturer Gian Paolo Dallara as saying that the new car will bear the production name of 'DW12' in memory of Dan Wheldon, who was killed in the multi-car accident at Vegas.

“I'm really appreciative of Dallara naming the car after Dan; he did put a lot of work into it," said Franchitti.

Dario had earlier made it clear that he has no intention at this point of quitting motor sport in the wake of Wheldon's death, one his closest friends in the series: "I've definitely wondered if it's worth it," Franchitti told The Associated Press earlier this week. "But I believe I still want to race."

Franchitti's cousin, Force India F1 driver Paul Di Resta, echoed Dario's feelings in an interview in New Delhi ahead of the Grand Prix of India.

"I know that Dario is out testing the new car at Sebring this week and he has said in interviews that it has made him think; only time will tell. If he wants to continue we'll support that decision," said Di Resta. "It's hurt him ... Dan was a very close friend."

Instead, Franchitti is channelling his energy into leading the drivers' group inputting into safety reviews of the IndyCar Series in the wake of Vegas, along with Tony Kanaan and Justin Wilson.

"Dario, Tony and Justin have taken the lead in unifying us and we're in a great group," said veteran series driver Davey Hamilton after a three-hour meeting between the drivers and series organisers at Indianapolis on Monday. "We've been exchanging calls and emails in a very positive way. We're doing it for the wellness of our sport."

It means that Franchitti is following in the footsteps of his childhood hero and mentor, fellow Scot Sir Jackie Stewart, who overcame huge opposition to spearhead the transformation of safety standards in F1 in the 60s and 70s.

"The difference we have now that maybe Jackie didn't have is that the promoters and the sport in general were not supporting him," said Franchitti on Monday. "As drivers, we have the support of each other, the support of the IndyCar Series and the fans and everybody."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dario Franchitti watching intently from the pits during Friday practice on the streets of Baltimore - September 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2011 season finale. [Picture credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon at the wheel of the 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell during summer testing of the new chassis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Photo credit: Walt Kuhn]
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JOHN - Unregistered

October 28, 2011 5:18 PM

So far, so good. I think it will be business as usual after Dan's (Wheldon) tragedy. The new IndyCar looks promising as I have not seen good views of it, its clear the rear is improved to avoid cars behind from taking off when they run into the back. However we need to be clear, IndyCar has always been very dangerous, still is and always will be. Nothing could have saved Paul Dana 5 years ago as a driver can hit a slower or stationery car at full-on speed. Same happened to Alex Zanardi, fortunately he escaped with his life, sadly he lost both his legs. Best wishes to all at IndyCar

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